Author Topic: The History of Metrication  (Read 3662 times)

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Offline Homer J Simpson

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The History of Metrication
« on: July 30, 2018, 03:00:06 pm »




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Online rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2018, 11:44:37 pm »
I'll bet this thread gets locked pretty quick.

The US uses metric units for all scientific work but it will NEVER become the standard in the US because the people (that is, the voters) think of it as a "Europe" kind of thing and we're not really into that.  We bailed out of that a long time back.

What we should have never done is allow cars to be imported with metric fasteners.  Every mechanic in the country had to buy a second set of hand tools.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2018, 11:57:28 pm by rstofer »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2018, 11:48:26 pm »
I'm a big fan of THG
 

Online rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2018, 11:58:33 pm »
I'm a big fan of THG

The presentation was more balanced than I expected.  We get a lot of heat over the metric thing.
 
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Offline tautech

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2018, 12:07:39 am »
I'm a big fan of THG

The presentation was more balanced than I expected.  We get a lot of heat over the metric thing.

Yeah good as it was it could've been in a bit more depth.
Thread from a little while ago:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/lol-us-imperial-weight-standards-are-base-on-the-metric-system-kilogram!/

From that I got the answer to where the US gallon was really derived from:
Most of the conversions become second nature pretty quick but the one I always had trouble with is the US gallon.
Where on earth did that originate from and what's it related to ?  :scared:
Weight ? Volume ?

It is based on one of the gallons used in England in the 1700's - the 1706 Queen Anne Wine gallon. (there were others e.g. Ale gallon, Corn gallon)
The UK 20-ounce gallon was not adopted until 1824 (based on the volume of 10 Avoirdupois pounds of water at 62°F) which was after US Independence.
:-DD
Thanks, so if this is correct it might seem the earliest Yanks only had empty grog measures on which to do their liquid measurements which has remained unchanged to this day.
How many 100's of years is that ?
Time for change one thinks.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2018, 12:18:49 am by tautech »
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Online rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2018, 12:28:32 am »
The US Gallon derives from "A pint's a pound, the world around!".  A pint of water is 16 fluid ounces which weights 16 ounces - a pound.  Two pints to a quart, 4 quarts (8 pints) to a gallon so a gallon weighs 8 pounds and is 128 ounces of liquid.

Close enough...


 

Offline blueskull

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2018, 02:28:47 am »
Not only US, other "metric countries" also use similar local units.
China uses Chinese inch, which is defined by the "one third rule", as 1/3 of a decimeter. Similarly, one Chinese foot is 1/3 of a meter.
One Chinese pound is defined as 1/2 of a kilogram, which is ~1.1 US pound, and one Chinese mile is defined as 1/2 kilometer.
Those units are basically redefined to be metric derived while still are close enough to old measurement systems used for hundreds of years, so people with less modern education can still live comfortably in a metric world.
Of course, those units are not to be used in formal trades or education/research. Those are just used to provide compatibility between old systems and metric systems.
 

Offline donotdespisethesnake

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2018, 05:15:59 am »
I'll bet this thread gets locked pretty quick.

The US uses metric units for all scientific work but it will NEVER become the standard in the US because the people (that is, the voters) think of it as a "Europe" kind of thing and we're not really into that.  We bailed out of that a long time back.

Yes, and that is why the US Empire is doomed.
Bob
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Online Zero999

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2018, 09:41:27 am »
Not only US, other "metric countries" also use similar local units.
China uses Chinese inch, which is defined by the "one third rule", as 1/3 of a decimeter. Similarly, one Chinese foot is 1/3 of a meter.
One Chinese pound is defined as 1/2 of a kilogram, which is ~1.1 US pound, and one Chinese mile is defined as 1/2 kilometer.
Those units are basically redefined to be metric derived while still are close enough to old measurement systems used for hundreds of years, so people with less modern education can still live comfortably in a metric world.
Of course, those units are not to be used in formal trades or education/research. Those are just used to provide compatibility between old systems and metric systems.
0.5km is well off a mile. 1 mile is 1609.34m. I can understand people using 1.5km as an approximate conversion factor for a mile, but I normally use 1.6km because it's more accurate and still easy enough to work out in my head.
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2018, 11:06:52 am »
0.5km is well off a mile. 1 mile is 1609.34m. I can understand people using 1.5km as an approximate conversion factor for a mile, but I normally use 1.6km because it's more accurate and still easy enough to work out in my head.

0.5km is a convenient number that resembles the traditional Chinese length unit for long distance, which is defined as 300 compound (double) steps. Each step is around 70cm, and is defined differently dynasty by dynasty.

Overall, the Chinese milage unit was about 0.45km, so when China underwent metrification, it just set the conversion to exactly 0.5km.
 

Offline glarsson

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2018, 12:00:37 pm »
0.5km is well off a mile. 1 mile is 1609.34m.
Your mile might be 1609.34m, but for other people a mile is something different. A Swedish mile (mil) as an example, is 10000m.
 
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Online Zero999

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2018, 03:16:33 pm »
0.5km is well off a mile. 1 mile is 1609.34m. I can understand people using 1.5km as an approximate conversion factor for a mile, but I normally use 1.6km because it's more accurate and still easy enough to work out in my head.

0.5km is a convenient number that resembles the traditional Chinese length unit for long distance, which is defined as 300 compound (double) steps. Each step is around 70cm, and is defined differently dynasty by dynasty.

Overall, the Chinese milage unit was about 0.45km, so when China underwent metrification, it just set the conversion to exactly 0.5km.
Your mile might be 1609.34m, but for other people a mile is something different. A Swedish mile (mil) as an example, is 10000m.

I doubt you called it a mile though, which is an English term.

The fact that a mile, gallon, pint etc. all have different meanings, in different countries, just highlights the fact that there needs to be a standard, hence metrication.
 

Offline Cerebus

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2018, 03:35:13 pm »
The US Gallon derives from "A pint's a pound, the world around!".  A pint of water is 16 fluid ounces which weights 16 ounces - a pound.  Two pints to a quart, 4 quarts (8 pints) to a gallon so a gallon weighs 8 pounds and is 128 ounces of liquid.

Close enough...

I take it this is the same "world" as in "the world series" as an Imperial pint (ale, for the dispensing of) is 20 fluid ounces and an Avoirdupois pound is 16 ounces. So for "world" read "US and dependencies" as any Commonwealth country and the UK all use/used the (heavier) Imperial pint.
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Offline Cerebus

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2018, 03:43:17 pm »
I doubt you called it a mile though, which is an English term.

Roman originally as in mille passus, a thousand paces. The Romans got around a lot, so it's not just the English that have had miles (or some phonetically close local word). So Dutch Mijl, German, Austrian and Prussian Meile, Russian миля, Croation milja and others.
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Offline glarsson

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2018, 04:05:01 pm »
I doubt you called it a mile though, which is an English term.
Yes. We have our own "mil" (without the silent e at the end). Even after many metric years it is still very much in use for distances. A mil is exactly 10000m.

No. A mile is not originally an English term. It probably entered the English language when the Roman's invaded Brittain.
 

Online Zero999

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2018, 04:14:14 pm »
I doubt you called it a mile though, which is an English term.
Yes. We have our own "mil" (without the silent e at the end). Even after many metric years it is still very much in use for distances. A mil is exactly 10000m.

No. A mile is not originally an English term. It probably entered the English language when the Roman's invaded Brittain.
That's interesting. I suppose there are many different variants of a mile and a foot too.

When I see the word mil, I think of mils, a US term for thou or 1/1000 inch.
 

Offline Tepe

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2018, 04:50:44 pm »
That's interesting. I suppose there are many different variants of a mile and a foot too.
Of course :)

A Danish mil, for instance is 12,000 alen or, if you like, 24,000 fod. That's 7,532.48 m.

The metric system was introduced in Denmark with a transitional period lasting from 1910-1916.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2018, 04:55:55 pm by Tepe »
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Online rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2018, 07:00:45 pm »
The fact that a mile, gallon, pint etc. all have different meanings, in different countries, just highlights the fact that there needs to be a standard, hence metrication.

Why do you say this?  What possible difference can it make to me what units are used in South Africa (or anywhere else)?  I buy 10 gallons of gasoline, I know how far that fills my tank and I simply don't care if liters are the unit of measure elsewhere.  Even when I lived in Singapore and bought gasoline in liters, I didn't care.  The pump shut off when the tank was full and I paid the bill.  Units simply didn't matter.  Frankly, I bought in units of 'fill the tank'.

And then there is the French thing...  Don't overlook the politics of metrication.  The first legislator to pop his head up and insist on metrication will be unemployed at the next election.  It's not the highest voltage 3rd rail in politics but it would be pretty far up the list I bet.  The people (the voters) just don't see a compelling need to change.  If we did, we would have done it decades ago.
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2018, 07:01:33 pm »
I doubt you called it a mile though, which is an English term.

Yes.

The fact that a mile, gallon, pint etc. all have different meanings, in different countries, just highlights the fact that there needs to be a standard, hence metrication.

I know.
 

Online rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2018, 07:26:05 pm »
The US Gallon derives from "A pint's a pound, the world around!".  A pint of water is 16 fluid ounces which weights 16 ounces - a pound.  Two pints to a quart, 4 quarts (8 pints) to a gallon so a gallon weighs 8 pounds and is 128 ounces of liquid.

Close enough...

I take it this is the same "world" as in "the world series" as an Imperial pint (ale, for the dispensing of) is 20 fluid ounces and an Avoirdupois pound is 16 ounces. So for "world" read "US and dependencies" as any Commonwealth country and the UK all use/used the (heavier) Imperial pint.

Yup!  Our world...  It was just a school rhyme to help remember how many ounces in a pound.  It's pretty meaningless.  I'm not sure it even worked but I do remember learning it.

There's one important date to keep in mind when chastising the US over its units:  July 20, 1969.  We walked on the Moon...

 

Offline glarsson

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2018, 07:43:23 pm »
What possible difference can it make to me what units are used in South Africa (or anywhere else)?
It matters very much if you are trading with the rest of the world.
 

Offline Cerebus

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2018, 07:56:40 pm »
The fact that a mile, gallon, pint etc. all have different meanings, in different countries, just highlights the fact that there needs to be a standard, hence metrication.

Why do you say this?  What possible difference can it make to me what units are used in South Africa (or anywhere else)?  I buy 10 gallons of gasoline, I know how far that fills my tank and I simply don't care if liters are the unit of measure elsewhere. [snip]

The thing is, other people sometimes need to decipher US units.

Trying to decipher US cook books is horrible. Cups of this, sticks of butter, pints (that are a different size) of that... At least in UK cook books they tend to have dual units, Imperial and metric — this is one of the odd arbitrary places that Imperial units are still commonplace here — but US cook books almost never have anything other than US customary units and make the parochial assumption that everybody will understand them, even in books intended for distribution in non-US markets.

I wouldn't be too surprised to find that a part of the US's trade deficit is down to using archaic units that are at variance with the rest of the world. There's, for instance, a huge international market for M6 bolts, 1/4" not so much.

I'm of just the right age to have had formal education in both Imperial and metric units. Junior school was all in pounds, shillings, feet, miles, chains, acres, pints, gallons and senior school was all metric. At the time many folks, like yourself, were quite reactionary about metrication but most people just got on with it. We took a pragmatic approach to metrication, in everyday life we still use pints and miles, and many pack sizes of things although formally specified in metric are still the same as they ever were. One gets supplied 568ml of beer and 227g of coffee, but you ask for a pint and grab a 1/2lb bag from the supermarket shelf. As time goes on the older units get used for less and less and old units gradually fall by the wayside (for instance, petrol was dual priced in both gallons [proper ones, not the US mini-gallon  :)] and litres for perhaps 25 years, for the last 20 years or so we've only used litres).
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Offline PA4TIM

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2018, 08:05:31 pm »
I'm glad we do not need this special meter anymore:


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Offline Cerebus

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2018, 08:08:37 pm »
There's one important date to keep in mind when chastising the US over its units:  July 20, 1969.  We walked on the Moon...

Well, Werner von Braun's German technology (originally designed in metric units) got you to the Moon.  :)

I always cringe a bit when an American brings up the Moon landings as evidence of American superiority, just as I do when an Englishman brings up our 1966 World Cup victory as evidence of Britain's greatness. Both events were in the middle of the last century...
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Online rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2018, 08:10:47 pm »
What possible difference can it make to me what units are used in South Africa (or anywhere else)?
It matters very much if you are trading with the rest of the world.

Well, shoot, we are the largest economy in the world.  We don't care how other countries do things.
http://statisticstimes.com/economy/projected-world-gdp-ranking.php

We don't exclude importation of metric products and the rest of the world needs us as a customer more than we need them.  As long as they don't exclude our non-metric products, we'll get along fine.
 

Online Wolfgang

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #25 on: July 31, 2018, 08:28:05 pm »
In my next life I'll invent a system of measures that has NO integer division ratios between ANY units. Bingo !  :wtf:
 

Online rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2018, 08:30:54 pm »
There's one important date to keep in mind when chastising the US over its units:  July 20, 1969.  We walked on the Moon...

Well, Werner von Braun's German technology (originally designed in metric units) got you to the Moon.  :)

I always cringe a bit when an American brings up the Moon landings as evidence of American superiority, just as I do when an Englishman brings up our 1966 World Cup victory as evidence of Britain's greatness. Both events were in the middle of the last century...

Not only were the 6 landings in the middle of the last century, 49 years later and nobody else has come close.  In my view it was the greatest technical and scientific achievement in history.  Twelve astronauts walked on the surface.  Consider the technology in play at the time.  We have single chip microcontrollers more capable than the Apollo Guidance Computer.  And we darn sure wouldn't have to weave core memory.

As to stealing the German scientists, sure, we steal talent all the time with our O-1 Visa program.

Soccer doesn't resonate in the US.  There is a lot of it going on but it has never been a commercial success.
 

Offline rdl

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #27 on: July 31, 2018, 08:51:31 pm »
As soon as somebody else lands on the Moon and eclipses that achievement, then we will probably continue to bring it up. The sooner that happens, the better, as far as I'm concerned.

I thought it was the German scientists that came looking for the US.

I played soccer in high school back in the sixties. As far as I know, it has always been part of school athletics, but it has never caught on here as a professionally sport.

I worked in the industrial coating business for most of my life and used metric units almost exclusively, but paint was still sold by the gallon.
 

Offline glarsson

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #28 on: July 31, 2018, 08:57:31 pm »
As long as they don't exclude our non-metric products, we'll get along fine.
Why should I buy your non-metric products? I have no use for them.
 

Offline Tepe

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2018, 09:16:48 pm »
Not only were the 6 landings in the middle of the last century, 49 years later and nobody else has come close.
Very true, not even the U.S. itself.
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Online rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #30 on: July 31, 2018, 11:11:19 pm »
Not only were the 6 landings in the middle of the last century, 49 years later and nobody else has come close.
Very true, not even the U.S. itself.

Unfortunately, that is true.  The US has lost its way, defunding NASA and pumping money into social programs.  I seriously doubt we will ever do anything as significant again.  Space-X might do something but I fear NASA is a dead issue.

You had to be there, and some of you were, but the US kicked it into high gear when Sputnik was launched in 1957.  I was about 11 so I would have been just starting 6th grade.  All of a sudden math and science were the most important subjects on the blackboard.  Education became a thing!  We needed engineers and we needed them immediately.  Twelve years later we were on the Moon.  A lot of science filtered out of that program including microelectronics.  Medicine benefited as  well.  Our latest achievement is Facebook?

https://www.nasa.gov/50th/50th_magazine/benefits.html

Anybody know who made the space suits?  Yup!  Playtex...

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/what-did-playtex-have-to-do-with-neil-armstrong-16588944/

 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #31 on: July 31, 2018, 11:20:57 pm »
The US Gallon derives from "A pint's a pound, the world around!".  A pint of water is 16 fluid ounces which weights 16 ounces - a pound.  Two pints to a quart, 4 quarts (8 pints) to a gallon so a gallon weighs 8 pounds and is 128 ounces of liquid.

Close enough...

"A pint of clear water weighs a pound & a quarter" was what we learnt when I was a kid in Oz!
The US pint makes a bit more sense, as it relates weight & liquid measure on a 1:1 basis.

Our (& much of the rest of the world's) "44 gallon drums, are your "55 gallon", we were agreeably surprised when buying US cars, that the mpg figure was better than that we read in US reports.
It went the other way round, too--mpg figures from Oz & UK vehicle tests turned out to be worse (numerically) when tested in the USA.

Australia went metric in the 1970s, with few glitches.
By the way, your 1/2" & 9/16"AF spanners will do double duty as 13mm & 14mm spanners respectively.

There has been a certain amount of "re-Imperialisation by stealth" in recent years, with beer being sold in pints.(apparently it helps the little "trendoids" pretend they are in London) >:(
Not all pints are equal, as some may be wimpy little US pints, & not full-blooded "hair on their chest" Brit pints. ;D

Another thing is the revival of Whitworth threaded bolts, thanks largely to the massive output of these devices in India, which is largely unreconstructed "Imperial".
 

Offline tautech

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2018, 11:37:14 pm »
Another thing is the revival of Whitworth threaded bolts, thanks largely to the massive output of these devices in India, which is largely unreconstructed "Imperial".
You'd really wonder why any modern manufacturer would want to use Whitworth.  ::)
Sure for India it comes from the days of British influence but really in this day and age ?  :-//
OK so they cheaped out on needing to update their tooling but that still leaves them using 19th century technology.

Metric is where it's at, coarse, fine and super fine in most thread sizes.

I've used BSW, BSF, UNC, UNF and most of the pipe threads ever made too, I'll keep BSPT but give me metric for everything else thank you.
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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #33 on: July 31, 2018, 11:39:52 pm »
There's one important date to keep in mind when chastising the US over its units:  July 20, 1969.  We walked on the Moon...

Well, Werner von Braun's German technology (originally designed in metric units) got you to the Moon.  :)

I always cringe a bit when an American brings up the Moon landings as evidence of American superiority, just as I do when an Englishman brings up our 1966 World Cup victory as evidence of Britain's greatness. Both events were in the middle of the last century...

Well Werner & others didn't think this stuff up from scratch, there was a lot of "cross pollination" between the "rocket geeks" in various countries, prior to the Hitler era.
Another well known rocket pioneer comes to mind, the American, Robert Goddard.

"The World Game".
Well, after all, you Poms did invent it, & worked hard to infect Europe with it, so you can take a lot of credit.
Strangely, it never took off that well in either Australia, or in the USA or Canada.

By the way, the local "Football" fans hate to hear it called "soccer"----go figure!
 

Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #34 on: July 31, 2018, 11:52:03 pm »
Well, shoot, we are the largest economy in the world.  We don't care how other countries do things.
http://statisticstimes.com/economy/projected-world-gdp-ranking.php

The US accounts for 23.3% of the world's economy, which is quite impressive, but this also means that the largest economy in the world is the world minus the US (=76,7%). And the largest economy in the world chose métrique.


Countries that have officially adopted the metric system are in green (Antarctica is neutral). Source: Wikipedia.

Just saying.
 

Offline Cerebus

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #35 on: July 31, 2018, 11:56:35 pm »
The US pint makes a bit more sense, as it relates weight & liquid measure on a 1:1 basis.

Doesn't bloody well make sense when you get short measure down the pub!  :)

Another thing is the revival of Whitworth threaded bolts, thanks largely to the massive output of these devices in India, which is largely unreconstructed "Imperial".

Several old British production lines got moved lock, stock and barrel to India from the UK. Not off-shoring, but products that had met the end of their economic cycles here but were still attractive in India. Cases in point are Royal Enfield, the motorcycle manufacturer (although in their case I think it may just have been the plans and possibly some tooling, complete with Imperial threads), and large slabs of the older railway industry.
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Offline blueskull

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #36 on: August 01, 2018, 12:24:13 am »
Countries that have officially adopted the metric system are in green (Antarctica is neutral). Source: Wikipedia.

Officially doesn't mean completely.

China officially adopts SI, but we use gallons for large mineral water containers and oil drums, we use mils and oz/ft2 in PCB industry, we use hps (defined as 550 ft*lb/s) on motors and cars, and we use inches on display size measurement.

Many packaged food products sold in China also have oz or lb in addition to g/kg. We also sometimes use imperial sizes for stock metal cylinders/sheets/bars and screws. Chinese cars also have both mph and kph, just like cars everywhere else in the world.

If it works, and it's used by engineers/tradesmen everywhere in the world, then why bother change it? If it ain't broken, don't fix it!
 

Online rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #37 on: August 01, 2018, 12:32:12 am »


The US accounts for 23.3% of the world's economy, which is quite impressive, but this also means that the largest economy in the world is the world minus the US (=76,7%). And the largest economy in the world chose métrique.

Just saying.

They're ganging up on us and we still don't care.

Metric needs a PR firm.  It is considered Euro-centric or, worse, French, and neither of those will sell in the US.  I'm not sure how to jazz it up when people are actively resistant.  If somebody seriously wanted the conversion, there would need to be a massive education program and PR job to sell it.  Where's the gain?  Why bother?

The only thing that matters is money and there's no money in making the conversion.  In fact, there are huge costs in terms of machine tools.  Lathe feed rates are in inches/revolution and that's a real problem.  Some of the inexpensive Grizzly lathes can cut both SAE and metric threads but I'm not sure the classic (old) lathes can cut metric.

BTW, Foster's Lager is great beer!  And the New Zealand and Australian embassies in Singapore provided bags of excellent wine for our weekly dive trips off the coast of Malaysia.  Truly excellent!  I once needed some machine work done.  The price?  A case of Foster's!

Guinness, OTOH, must be an acquired taste and I failed.  Maybe if I had stayed in Ireland a little longer I could have adapted.  Dinkelacker Pilsner was my favorite beer when I was stationed in Germany.  I have no idea how much was in the glass and by the end of the night, I didn't care.  I loved Germany!  What a place to party!
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #38 on: August 01, 2018, 12:33:36 am »
Another thing is the revival of Whitworth threaded bolts, thanks largely to the massive output of these devices in India, which is largely unreconstructed "Imperial".
You'd really wonder why any modern manufacturer would want to use Whitworth.  ::)
Sure for India it comes from the days of British influence but really in this day and age ?  :-//
OK so they cheaped out on needing to update their tooling but that still leaves them using 19th century technology.

Metric is where it's at, coarse, fine and super fine in most thread sizes.

I've used BSW, BSF, UNC, UNF and most of the pipe threads ever made too, I'll keep BSPT but give me metric for everything else thank you.

I suppose if you're bolting pieces of wood together for a pergola or something, it doesn't much matter!

Whitworth & UNC are, to a large extent, compatible, but I've always hated BSF!
Then there are the other delights--- BA, those weird US thread sizes that Tektronix use that don't seem to relate to anything else much, "Lucas threads".
My old 1936 Chev even used special  "General Motors threads" on the front axle!------aaarrrrrggggghhhh!.

By the way, talking of pre WW2 US cars, anyone remember how Chrysler used LH threaded wheel studs & nuts on the LH side of their cars?

Apparently, it took them a few years to realise that other carmakers weren't dropping wheels higgledy- piggledy, & came back from dreamland.
 

Online rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #39 on: August 01, 2018, 12:42:48 am »
Some years back, I wanted to build a small, safe, sailing dinghy for my grandson.  I came across the Firebug from New Zealand and I really liked the flotation cavities fore and aft as well as the way the boat drains as it is turned upright.  It is a terrific design!  But, alas, it's metric.

Well, what do you know?  My tablesaw has dual units on the measuring tape and I bought a couple of metric only tape measures and built the boat.  All metric, no issues.

http://www.firebug.co.nz/

This is a great boat for kids to learn to sail!  I ordered some of the hardware and the sail direct from NZ and sourced everything else locally.
 

Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #40 on: August 01, 2018, 12:49:18 am »

Officially doesn't mean completely.

China officially adopts SI, but we use gallons for large mineral water containers and oil drums, we use mils and oz/ft2 in PCB industry, we use hps (defined as 550 ft*lb/s) on motors and cars, and we use inches on display size measurement.

Many packaged food products sold in China also have oz or lb in addition to g/kg. We also sometimes use imperial sizes for stock metal cylinders/sheets/bars and screws. Chinese cars also have both mph and kph, just like cars everywhere else in the world.

THG seems to imply that people that live in countries that adopt the metric system are not free to choose otherwise. Although the metric system has been around where I live for more than 150 years, you can buy paint by the gallon, TV screens by the inch and fill tires by the PSI. The only thing is that those units are not legally defined, so the vendor has to provide an equivalent spec in metric somewhere to stay out of trouble. Units out of the SI are therefore deprecated.

On the other hand when it comes to "modern" units of measure like the volt, the watt, the ampere, the ohm, etc. the US is already fully metricated. No one measures the power of an LED in pounds times square feet per cubic second, but in watts, which is short for kg·m²/s³. The bastion of resistance seems to be the "old" measures that deal with length, area, volume, and weight, plus temperature.


 

Online rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #41 on: August 01, 2018, 12:54:13 am »
By the way, talking of pre WW2 US cars, anyone remember how Chrysler used LH threaded wheel studs & nuts on the LH side of their cars?

Apparently, it took them a few years to realise that other carmakers weren't dropping wheels higgledy- piggledy, & came back from dreamland.

They had LH threads up until 1975.  I used to do a bit of drag racing in my misspent youth, mostly MOPAR.  All of our cars had LH threads.  Wish I still had the cars!

GM used LH lugnuts on certain models up to '65

https://www.hotrod.com/articles/ccrp-0607-junkyard-crawl-lefthand-lugs/
 

Offline tautech

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #42 on: August 01, 2018, 12:55:24 am »
Another thing is the revival of Whitworth threaded bolts, thanks largely to the massive output of these devices in India, which is largely unreconstructed "Imperial".
You'd really wonder why any modern manufacturer would want to use Whitworth.  ::)
Sure for India it comes from the days of British influence but really in this day and age ?  :-//
OK so they cheaped out on needing to update their tooling but that still leaves them using 19th century technology.

Metric is where it's at, coarse, fine and super fine in most thread sizes.

I've used BSW, BSF, UNC, UNF and most of the pipe threads ever made too, I'll keep BSPT but give me metric for everything else thank you.

I suppose if you're bolting pieces of wood together for a pergola or something, it doesn't much matter!

Whitworth & UNC are, to a large extent, compatible, but I've always hated BSF!
Then there are the other delights--- BA, those weird US thread sizes that Tektronix use that don't seem to relate to anything else much, "Lucas threads".
My old 1936 Chev even used special  "General Motors threads" on the front axle!------aaarrrrrggggghhhh!.

By the way, talking of pre WW2 US cars, anyone remember how Chrysler used LH threaded wheel studs & nuts on the LH side of their cars?

Apparently, it took them a few years to realise that other carmakers weren't dropping wheels higgledy- piggledy, & came back from dreamland.
Well trucks use dedicated 'hand' threads to this day.
BA, that's Pome (correct spelling) while your 'obscure' Tek threads are # UNF threads !

Yet my Aussie built 2002 Commodore is a mis-mash of SAE (imperial) and metric threads.  :scared:
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Offline JohnnyMalaria

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #43 on: August 01, 2018, 12:56:45 am »
There's one important date to keep in mind when chastising the US over its units:  July 20, 1969.  We walked on the Moon...

Well, Werner von Braun's German technology (originally designed in metric units) got you to the Moon.  :)

I always cringe a bit when an American brings up the Moon landings as evidence of American superiority, just as I do when an Englishman brings up our 1966 World Cup victory as evidence of Britain's greatness. Both events were in the middle of the last century...

Not only were the 6 landings in the middle of the last century, 49 years later and nobody else has come close.  In my view it was the greatest technical and scientific achievement in history.  Twelve astronauts walked on the surface.  Consider the technology in play at the time.  We have single chip microcontrollers more capable than the Apollo Guidance Computer.  And we darn sure wouldn't have to weave core memory.

As to stealing the German scientists, sure, we steal talent all the time with our O-1 Visa program.

Soccer doesn't resonate in the US.  There is a lot of it going on but it has never been a commercial success.

Yeah, love the blind eye the US turns to the fact that the base technology was developed as a WMD by a genocidal would-be empire (actively fired at London killing many, many civilians) and taken by the US to prove a political and militaristic point in the middle of the cold war.

I'd say Sputnik has had a far greater impact on humanity than Apollo but Americans can't stand that nor that the first person in space was a Soviet.
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Offline JohnnyMalaria

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #44 on: August 01, 2018, 01:04:23 am »
What possible difference can it make to me what units are used in South Africa (or anywhere else)?
It matters very much if you are trading with the rest of the world.

Well, shoot, we are the largest economy in the world.  We don't care how other countries do things.
http://statisticstimes.com/economy/projected-world-gdp-ranking.php

We don't exclude importation of metric products and the rest of the world needs us as a customer more than we need them.  As long as they don't exclude our non-metric products, we'll get along fine.


Why should I buy from a manufacturer so stuck in the past and with its heels dug in so deep? Recall in the 60s and 70s that the US car industry bitched and moaned about how unfair it was that Japan wouldn't import many US cars but the US was merrily importing Japanese cars. The reason - the US manufacturers were too arrogant to adapt to the Japanese market and make right-hand drive versions of their cars whereas Japan manufactured left-hand drive versions for the US market.  :wtf: :palm:
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Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #45 on: August 01, 2018, 01:05:51 am »
They're ganging up on us and we still don't care.

To the US's detriment, I presume. Because the rest of the world doesn't give a hoot about the system of units the US use. The rest of the world doesn't buy anything significant from the US anymore that involves the units to which the US cling to.

(I was pleasantly surprised to recently find grape juice and Bic permanent markers made in the US in a local store, though.)

Quote
Metric needs a PR firm.  It is considered Euro-centric or, worse, French, and neither of those will sell in the US.

You got that right. The metric system since long ago has not been a French or an Euro thing. In the globally integrated economy we live today, there's no sense having two competing systems of measure.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2018, 02:32:45 am by bsfeechannel »
 

Offline JohnnyMalaria

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #46 on: August 01, 2018, 01:20:49 am »
Most stuff from Harbor Freight has US units.

My 3-axis mill drives me up the freaking wall. I need to machine items in metric. Let's see how easy it is to mill a 10mm square channel. A metric mill would be, say, 1mm per turn and the bits would be 10mm diameter. Finding the corner is trivial. 5mm so 5 turns. Damn, it's so, so simple.

With my US units mill:

10mm = 10/25.4in
Nearest bit = 3/8" which is shy of 10mm so I'll have to make multiple passes.

The index handles are in thousandths of an inch but one turn is 1/16" = 62.5 thou. So if I need to move 400 thou I have to calculate 400/62.5 turns = 6.4 = 6 whole turns + 25 thou.

It was such a simple shape to mill but unbelievably stressful. That's where a 20oz pint is so much better than a 16oz :)

(No, I don't have DRO and cannot justify it)
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Online rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #47 on: August 01, 2018, 01:44:18 am »
But you could buy a 10mm end mill.  Locating a center is somewhat dimensionless in the sense that measurements from both sides use the same units regardless of what they are.
 

Offline JohnnyMalaria

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #48 on: August 01, 2018, 02:18:41 am »
But you could buy a 10mm end mill.  Locating a center is somewhat dimensionless in the sense that measurements from both sides use the same units regardless of what they are.

I could but the headaches come from the 1/16" pitch marked in thous and trying to make things in mm. :scared:
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Offline tautech

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #49 on: August 01, 2018, 02:39:44 am »
But you could buy a 10mm end mill.  Locating a center is somewhat dimensionless in the sense that measurements from both sides use the same units regardless of what they are.

I could but the headaches come from the 1/16" pitch marked in thous and trying to make things in mm. :scared:
A tip to help get your head around it and for quick calcs:
1mm = ~40 thou.
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Offline JohnnyMalaria

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #50 on: August 01, 2018, 03:51:31 am »
But you could buy a 10mm end mill.  Locating a center is somewhat dimensionless in the sense that measurements from both sides use the same units regardless of what they are.

I could but the headaches come from the 1/16" pitch marked in thous and trying to make things in mm. :scared:
A tip to help get your head around it and for quick calcs:
1mm = ~40 thou.
If I had 0.1" or 0.05" pitch instead of 1/16" it would be less stressful. If I have to move 700 thou with 1/10" pitch, it's just 7 turns. With the 1/16" pitch it's 11 turns and then 12.5 thous which may or may not wrapped around the 0/62.5 line which, if turning CCW, then involves subtracting the 12.5 to end up at 50 thous. If that made sense, please explain it to me!


Nevertheless, I'm happy with how the part came out.
Tell me it can't be done and I'll do it. Or give it a damned good try.
 

Offline Keicar

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #51 on: August 01, 2018, 04:09:51 am »
I was surprised to learn the extent to which the U.S. watch industry embraced the metric system in the mid/late 19th century. For example, balance staff pivot sizes are expressed in units of 0.1mm.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #52 on: August 01, 2018, 06:24:33 am »
Another thing is the revival of Whitworth threaded bolts, thanks largely to the massive output of these devices in India, which is largely unreconstructed "Imperial".
You'd really wonder why any modern manufacturer would want to use Whitworth.  ::)
Sure for India it comes from the days of British influence but really in this day and age ?  :-//
OK so they cheaped out on needing to update their tooling but that still leaves them using 19th century technology.

Metric is where it's at, coarse, fine and super fine in most thread sizes.

I've used BSW, BSF, UNC, UNF and most of the pipe threads ever made too, I'll keep BSPT but give me metric for everything else thank you.

I suppose if you're bolting pieces of wood together for a pergola or something, it doesn't much matter!

Whitworth & UNC are, to a large extent, compatible, but I've always hated BSF!
Then there are the other delights--- BA, those weird US thread sizes that Tektronix use that don't seem to relate to anything else much, "Lucas threads".
My old 1936 Chev even used special  "General Motors threads" on the front axle!------aaarrrrrggggghhhh!.

By the way, talking of pre WW2 US cars, anyone remember how Chrysler used LH threaded wheel studs & nuts on the LH side of their cars?

Apparently, it took them a few years to realise that other carmakers weren't dropping wheels higgledy- piggledy, & came back from dreamland.
Well trucks use dedicated 'hand' threads to this day.
BA, that's Pome (correct spelling) while your 'obscure' Tek threads are # UNF threads !

Yet my Aussie built 2002 Commodore is a mis-mash of SAE (imperial) and metric threads.  :scared:

I saw plenty of UNFs around, but nothing in such small sizes, certainly not obtainable over the counter in Oz, like Whitworths & BA were.
SAE (coarse), is pretty much the same as UNC &  Whitworth, with SAE (fine) pretty much the same as UNF.
(Except where they aren't)

Small screws in metric sizes still generate headaches, with Japanese stuff usually coarse, & German, fine.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #53 on: August 01, 2018, 06:33:56 am »
By the way, talking of pre WW2 US cars, anyone remember how Chrysler used LH threaded wheel studs & nuts on the LH side of their cars?

Apparently, it took them a few years to realise that other carmakers weren't dropping wheels higgledy- piggledy, & came back from dreamland.

They had LH threads up until 1975.  I used to do a bit of drag racing in my misspent youth, mostly MOPAR.  All of our cars had LH threads.  Wish I still had the cars!

GM used LH lugnuts on certain models up to '65

https://www.hotrod.com/articles/ccrp-0607-junkyard-crawl-lefthand-lugs/

I never was a big Chrysler man, but I'm pretty sure all the Oz built ones in the '50s, '60s & '70s, used standard RH threads all round.
It wouldn't have been a hard mod to make for a manufacturer if they wanted to please the local market.

 

Offline tautech

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #54 on: August 01, 2018, 07:56:15 am »
Another thing is the revival of Whitworth threaded bolts, thanks largely to the massive output of these devices in India, which is largely unreconstructed "Imperial".
You'd really wonder why any modern manufacturer would want to use Whitworth.  ::)
Sure for India it comes from the days of British influence but really in this day and age ?  :-//
OK so they cheaped out on needing to update their tooling but that still leaves them using 19th century technology.

Metric is where it's at, coarse, fine and super fine in most thread sizes.

I've used BSW, BSF, UNC, UNF and most of the pipe threads ever made too, I'll keep BSPT but give me metric for everything else thank you.

I suppose if you're bolting pieces of wood together for a pergola or something, it doesn't much matter!

Whitworth & UNC are, to a large extent, compatible, but I've always hated BSF!
Then there are the other delights--- BA, those weird US thread sizes that Tektronix use that don't seem to relate to anything else much, "Lucas threads".
My old 1936 Chev even used special  "General Motors threads" on the front axle!------aaarrrrrggggghhhh!.

By the way, talking of pre WW2 US cars, anyone remember how Chrysler used LH threaded wheel studs & nuts on the LH side of their cars?

Apparently, it took them a few years to realise that other carmakers weren't dropping wheels higgledy- piggledy, & came back from dreamland.
Well trucks use dedicated 'hand' threads to this day.
BA, that's Pome (correct spelling) while your 'obscure' Tek threads are # UNF threads !

Yet my Aussie built 2002 Commodore is a mis-mash of SAE (imperial) and metric threads.  :scared:

I saw plenty of UNFs around, but nothing in such small sizes, certainly not obtainable over the counter in Oz, like Whitworths & BA were.
Yes that's because of our links to the motherland and not so much to the US.

Quote
SAE (coarse), is pretty much the same as UNC &  Whitworth, with SAE (fine) pretty much the same as UNF.
(Except where they aren't)
And when the aren't they're flipping miles off.
Dunno how many times I've be caught by 1/2" BSW bolts and attempting to get a 1/2" UNC nut onto it.  :rant:

What makes it worse is that BSW hex head and nut sizes have changed from the real old days to where now they can be easy to mistake BSW as UNC.........grrrrrr !

Quote
Small screws in metric sizes still generate headaches, with Japanese stuff usually coarse, & German, fine.
I've had quite a bit of experience with Swedish and a little of German power tools where thread sizes and pitches have been quite standardized and no problems with a bit of Jap stuff thrown in too.
3, 4, 5, and 6mm fasteners all quite standard with only some differences to drive types, Hex key or head, Torx, slotted and Posi/Phillips all in universal usage with the occasional anti-tamper thrown in just to keep things interesting.
If you're using fasteners frequently you just have to have a full arsenal of tools to deal with any type.
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Offline apis

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #55 on: August 04, 2018, 05:59:36 pm »
I'll bet this thread gets locked pretty quick.

The US uses metric units for all scientific work but it will NEVER become the standard in the US because the people (that is, the voters) think of it as a "Europe" kind of thing and we're not really into that.  We bailed out of that a long time back.
They got that backwards. The US customary system is essentially the old British colonial system, while the metric system was born out of the same set of ideals upon which the USA is founded. That is the most baffling aspect of US resistance to metrication imho.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 06:05:00 pm by apis »
 

Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #56 on: August 05, 2018, 01:16:42 am »
Yeah. Ironically, sticking to imperial is one of the most un-American attitudes in the perception of those outside the US.
 

Offline rdl

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #57 on: August 05, 2018, 03:43:54 am »
I wonder who's fault it really is that America is not more metric. The manufacturing infrastructure? I don't think the general populace cares much. Soft drinks are sold by the liter. Beer is bought by quantity, six packs, case, keg, etc.. Gas is bought either by the dollar or by the tank. Probably length and distance, and weight, would take some getting used to, but I doubt it would be that big of a deal for most people.
 
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